10 Animals That Went Extinct In The Last 100 Years

Reflect on the poignant tales of nature’s lost treasures with 10 animals that vanished in the last century. The haunting echo of the Passenger Pigeon, the final roar of the Tasmanian Tiger, and the mysterious disappearance of the Golden Toad showcase the fragile dance between wildlife and human influence.

1. Passenger Pigeon

Image by Hogyncymru License: CC BY-SA 4.0

The Passenger Pigeon was once an emblem of North America’s avian population, with numbers soaring into the billions, creating skies darkened by their vast flocks. Yet, due to rampant overhunting and habitat destruction, their numbers plummeted, culminating in the extinction of the species with the death of the last known pigeon, named Martha, in 1914.

2. Tasmanian Tiger

Known officially as the Thylacine, but more commonly as the Tasmanian Tiger, this marsupial carnivore was native to Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea and played a vital role in the ecosystem as a top predator. Despite its ecological importance, extensive predator control measures, fueled by fears of livestock attacks, led to a tragic end, with the last confirmed individual dying in captivity in 1936.

3. Baiji White Dolphin

Image by Huangdan2060 License: CC BY 3.0

The Baiji White Dolphin, a graceful freshwater dolphin species, made its home in the waters of China’s Yangtze River. However, relentless industrialization along the river led to severe habitat loss and degradation, ultimately sealing the fate of the Baiji, with its last confirmed sighting reported in 2002.

4. Western Black Rhino

Image by ZooPro at en.wikipedia License: CC BY-SA 3.0

The Western Black Rhino, a subspecies of the African rhinoceros, faced a catastrophic decline as a result of relentless poaching, driven by the high demand for its horn. This uncontrolled slaughter, a stark symbol of conservation failure, led to the species being declared extinct in 2011, marking a profound loss for biodiversity.

5. Pinta Island Tortoise

Image by putneymark License: CC BY-SA 2.0

The narrative of the Pinta Island Tortoise is a poignant one, embodied by Lonesome George, the last of his kind from the Galápagos. George’s death in 2012 was a somber milestone, prompting intensive scientific efforts to locate genetically pure relatives in a bid to preserve the genetic legacy of his species.

6. Caribbean Monk Seal

Once prevalent in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, the Caribbean Monk Seal was driven to extinction by relentless overhunting. Hunted for their oil, these seal species suffered a critical loss, with their extinction officially declared in 2008 after years without a single sighting.

7. Javan Tiger

The Javan Tiger, which roamed the lush forests of Indonesia’s Java Island, became a tragic victim of habitat destruction and rampant human encroachment. With the last sighting in the 1970s, the demise of this Indonesian tiger highlights the delicate balance between wildlife and human expansion.

8. Chinese River Dolphin

The Chinese River Dolphin, or Baiji, once navigated the Yangtze River but fell silent in the waters due to an onslaught of pollution and a surge in ship traffic. Despite extensive searches, there have been no confirmed sightings of the dolphin since 2004, cementing its status among the lost treasures of the natural world.

9. Golden Toad

The Golden Toad, native to the misty realms of Costa Rica’s Monteverde Cloud Forest, became an unwitting emblem for the impacts of climate change. The combination of shifting global weather patterns, including the effects of El Niño, contributed to its extinction by the late 1980s, leaving behind a legacy intertwined with environmental change.

10. Guam Flying Fox

The Guam Flying Fox, a species of fruit bat once adorning the skies of the Pacific Islands, fell victim to widespread deforestation and unchecked hunting. These deleterious human activities led to its declaration of extinction in the 1970s, marking a loss among the region’s unique arboreal wildlife.